Tech Talk Live Notes: Wabissa Bede And Mike Young

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Wabissa Bede, Virginia Tech
Wabissa Bede is having fun leading the 2019-20 Hokies. (Jon Fleming)

Wabissa Bede

On becoming a part of the Virginia Tech community…

At first, it was exciting to move to a new area with new people. For basketball, it was hard at first. Being one of the main guys in high school, you think you’re going to play 35 minutes, but it wasn’t like that for me. I was playing behind [Justin Robinson] who I thought was the best point guard in the country for the last two years. He did a great job. It was hard just sitting there, but I learned a lot from him that has made me into who I am today.

On filling in for Justin Robinson last season…

Playing more and getting more reps on the court allowed the game to slow down for me. I was able to go out there and play care-free.

On teaching the younger guys on the team…

It’s important to teach them about the game and tips on where the defense may slip up on the pick-and-roll or what reads you can make. I’m just trying to teach Jalen [Cone], Nahiem [Alleyne] and Hunter [Cattoor].

On deciding to stay at Virginia Tech with Mike Young…

At first, during the recruitment talks, we just tried to feel each other out. He would ask me how my day was and everything which allowed the relationship to build every day. My trust in him got stronger and stronger each and every day. I was very happy, and I made the right choice.

On having to learn a new offensive system mid-season last year…

For the nail offense, it was kind of weird because K.J. [Blackshear] was the point guard. He was the player that could create for others and he could do that from the free throw line or the block. We just went with his flow and he did a good job being the point. Everybody contributed hard to get the win. We only had eight players, so everybody was just trying to help each other each and every day.

On Mike Young’s offensive system…

The game has slowed down for me in my head a lot more. Now, I can see the reads a lot easier. I feel like I’m two steps ahead and can predetermine things while I’m still having fun.

On being a leader on this team with P.J. Horne…

We know what it takes to win. We’ve been there last year, and we know what it takes to get over the hump. We like to tell them that one bad shot can get you down six points. Every time that we said that to them in the summer, they got big eyes because they didn’t understand it. Now, they understand that a bad shot can get you down six points and then another one can get you down ten. In the ACC, it’s tough to claw your way back from that. We just try to teach them what’s a good shot and what’s a bad shot and to take care of the ball.

On his academics…

I’m graduating this summer. That was a big step for me, being the first generation [of my family] to graduate from college. Another goal of mine is to graduate with above a 3.0.

On his leadership role this year impacting his dream of coaching in the future…

I want to be a coach because I’ve always been a point guard. I’ve always been coaching, but I’ve been younger. I just have a good feel for it and I’m always the helper that tries to help everybody out.

On the improvement of this team…

Each and every game, I feel like we’re improving. I know what the goal is for this team, and our potential is very high. I just can’t wait to keep playing with them.

On Tyrece Radford…

Every day in practice last year, I was thinking, ‘Dang, I wish he was playing with us.’ Everybody knows how long his arms are to get all of those rebounds. He could have helped us a lot last year with those rebounds, but we had to wait a whole year.

On Radford’s dunk…

I was shocked. I thought he was going to lay it up because it was a seven-footer. If you look at the replay, he actually lost the ball and got it back. It was incredible.

On the role players from last year becoming the stars…

It’s exciting. We waited our turn and we stayed the course. We’re happy with the results right now.

On keeping the team focused throughout the season…

We have to keep it in our heads that we’re not good enough and can walk into a gym and think we’re going to win any game. We have to keep working and motivating everybody else. I always text them when I’m working out and say, ‘I’m in the gym, where were you?’ Then, on the off-days, some guys will ask me, ‘What were you doing on the off-day?’ I can’t do back-to-backs, I’m sorry.

On his favorite arena to play in…

Boston College because that’s home. There’s always a lot of people I know around.

Mike Young, Virginia Tech
Mike Young and the Hokies are 13-5. (Jon Fleming)

Mike Young

On Wabissa Bede…

People come into your life as you move along. You’re coming into an unfamiliar situation. You’ve been somewhere for 30 years and looking to grab onto whoever you can make a connection with. I’ll look back when my career is done, and I’ll always be thankful that Wabissa was here. He’s been that kind of guy for me. As a professional, to have people around you that you work with, he’s the same guy every day. He’s not way up here or way down there, he’s always the same. He doesn’t care if he scores two points on Wednesday, he cares about Virginia Tech winning.

He’s about the right stuff. I love that kid and I love coaching him. I’m so thankful that we were able to retain him. He loves this school, and he’s done very well academically. He’s one of those guys who is going to graduate from here with an undergraduate and a graduate degree. He will go on from here and become a great professional, a great husband, and a great father.

On bringing Bede back…

I was in the office and it was more of a recruitment than anything. It was over a longer period of time than you would think. He would pop in and we would talk for five or ten minutes. It wasn’t me trying to say that I’ll let you shoot 20 times or play 40 minutes. It was two adults talking about a vision and how I saw things playing out. He got to a point where he had enough information to make a decision and he took leap of faith. We were right there in the office and he never tipped his hand on what he was thinking. Looking back, I know we would be in a tough spot without him.

On how much work Bede puts in…

You find point guards that are okay getting people in spots and distributing and being the quarterback. There’s a little piece of them that thinks that they’re doing so much for everybody else, I need to get mine and I need to pinch one off. He’s not like that at all. It’s nothing about that. He’s concerned about others. His assist-to-turnover ratio is one of the best in the nation, he’s one of the best defenders I have, he’s the best cutter I have. He does a lot of things that the average fan doesn’t recognize, but he’s playing good basketball and he’s putting together a great junior year.

On Nahiem Alleyne…
He has a toughness to him. You go through that, as a football player or in any sport, where you just hit a wall. I had a conversation with Hunter Cattoor, who has had a heck of freshman year for us and is a great basketball player and a great person. He’s where Nahiem was this time last week. You just have to hang in there and continue to work. There’s no fire and brimstone. The worst thing I can do is add to the pressure they already feel. They’re athletes, they want to play well and help the team win. They all have a dark moment, all freshmen do. It’s part of the process and you have to hang in there.

He gets one in the first half, and that goal, that looks like a dime when you let it go, when it gets in the basket, it starts to open up for you. Then, you’re throwing them in left and right. I’m really proud of him. He hit some really big shots for us and it’s good to see him bounce back and play an awfully fine basketball game. He played as well defensively as he did offensively.

On Jalen Cone…

He brings instant offense. Every time he shoots it, I think it’s going in the basket. He had one the other night that I would have discouraged if I had been close enough to him. He had what appeared to be a contested shot. He knows who he is, he’s 5’8”. He gets off of the floor over in the corner near Syracuse’s bench with about six minutes to play in the first half to pinch off another three. I was okay with it because he’s on such a roll.

He feels so good about his game and our team and our coaching staff. You develop a confidence in a person because a guy has confidence in himself. We’re running all kinds of things for him now. We’ve got stuff flying off of the wall left and right. We talked about some things today. He’s a special offensive player. He’s masking his deficiencies defensively and lack of size with a hard nose defensive [mentality]. He’s playing really well.

On his names for certain plays and sets…

I just pull them out of the air. Some of them are ridiculous. I’ve always done it, don’t ask me why. We had one last year for a female manager that we’re running here, Clarke Allen. We script our first five plays and one of them on Wednesday will be Rosanna for Rosanna Nadeau. Stephanie Ballein got upset today because we hadn’t named one for her yet, so we named one Chief for her. Side out of bounds stuff are all flowers. Somebody texted me the other day because they thought it was ‘Drunk Elon.’ That definitely wasn’t the play. 

On scouting report mistakes…

We have to do a better job of coaching them. If you’re not looking for it, it seems like a kid makes a good shot. He did, but we didn’t do our job which allowed him to get that kind of shot. For instance, helping onto a kid that’s not a very good scorer or penetrator, and we help off of a kid that can really shoot it like Boeheim. We saw what he did, scoring 18 straight points in the first half. A long-close, instead of a short close. We close out short on some people because they’re not very good shooters. We close long and they shot-fake, so we leave our feet. Don’t do that, he can’t make that play. We leave our feet, he gets to the rim and we fouled him.

I think we were a little generous in our grading scale, those lead to tough things happening for you. We had one of those days. I would be less than realistic with you if I didn’t also credit Syracuse. They came in here with a plan with Hughes, Boeheim and Gerard even though Gerard didn’t play particularly well. They played a little bit better than we did. I hate it and it bothers me and it bothers our team. You have afternoons like that unfortunately.

On having a tough day, but only losing by two…

We’ve taken that hit and gotten back on our heels and withdrawn a couple of times. We have figured some things out and continued to fight. We were down 16 points. That’s a tough place to be. You stick to your guns and hang in there possession by possession. You’re not going to get it all back in two minutes. I’m very proud of them for that. We’re going to be down again. We’ll find ourselves down by 10, 11, 12 points and we have to find our way back. Until you’ve been there and experience that adversity, you don’t know what that feels like.

We were down 11 at Syracuse in the first half and then Isaiah Wilkins make a huge three. Then, we had a transition pass from Wabissa to Hunter to Nahiem in the corner. Nahiem did a good job of running the floor and got that shot down to cut it to five. That’s the story, you go in down five, that’s a different story and you’re right in the game.

On attending Dean Smith’s basketball camp with Roy Williams as his coach…

I loved being around him. He’s a great coach and I’ve admired him for many years. Just a great coach and great mentor. Every time we see each other, we reflect on that camp. I did go to Chapel Hill, and I went to Wake Forest as well. Those were fond memories. Coach Smith was very regimented on everything you did. You had to make your bed, clean your room and turn your lights out.

One day, Greg Miles was a manager, and he would come by and hand each coach a piece of paper that was the people who had made a mistake. I forgot to turn my bathroom light out and I thought Coach would just run me out on the blacktop a couple of times. He ran me so hard that I thought I was going to expire. He got me. He doesn’t remember that, but I certainly do. I never failed to turn the lights out, I can assure you of that.

On how big of a concern rebounding is…

It’s a big one on Wednesday. It’s everything. If we can get it off of the glass, I think we’ll put ourselves in a great position to win. Often times, that second or third shot by an opponent goes in. They want to play two traditional bigs. We haven’t seen a lot of that so far in league play. We saw it a little bit with NC State, but they didn’t like how they matched up with us.

We’re going to have a tough time matching up with Bacot and Brooks, but they’re going to have a hard time matching up with us. They’ll send three [to the offensive glass] sometimes with Bacot, Brooks and Brandon Robinson. Getting the ball off of the rim on a missed foul shot will be critical. They do an unbelievable job of smacking the ball out to the top of the floor. That generates another possession. I’m nervous about it.

On the pace UNC plays at…

Nothing is going to change offensively. Our shot selection and ballhandling will be everything. We’ve done a really nice job of that, so teams have a tough time getting out in transition. You turn the ball over, and they come at you with numbers, that’s a tough situation. You never want to give up a three in transition or a lay-up or dunk in transition. This Hokie team has done a good job of that. I think we can get great shots every time down, so let’s make sure we’re not settling for good shots. If we can do that, we are going to score enough points to win every game. We have to do a better job on the defensive end and toughen up on the glass too.

On situations when the team gets into foul trouble…

You just have to survive it. Everything is different. You go into it with a plan. Branden Johnson hadn’t played very much at all for us, but he was put into a situation where he has to help us [against Wake Forest]. He helped us move the ball, hustled and did some nice things on the defensive end. That’s the game. You’re going to get into situations that you hadn’t considered as much as you should have. You have to adjust and adapt on the fly and put them in the right place. You also just have to get to the half. If you can get to the half when P.J. has two fouls and John has two or three, you’ve survived it. Now, you have to juggle some scenarios in the second half.

On North Carolina’s injury issues…

We’ll prepare as if Cole Anthony is going to play. I hope he does. It kills me when young people miss time because of injury. You prepare because the faces may change, but they’re still going to do what North Carolina does. You have to be ready to go whether he plays or not.

On the students being back on Wednesday…

I think it’s going to be phenomenal and our kids will be excited about it. I’m excited about it, to be a part of that special environment. We’ll be ready to play.

On taking accountability…

I think it’s your role as the leader to take the hit. I’m going to take the hit. As a head coach for 17 years, I may say that Wabissa Bede has to do this, but I’ll also say that I have to coach him better. I can’t blame a young person. I’ve known this for every team that I’ve coached, they have pure hearts. They want to help our team win. It doesn’t work out for our team always, but that’s athletics. I don’t know how to do it any other way. I have to do a better job of putting them in the right places.

On having to play two more road games after UNC…

I hadn’t thought much about it. We have the Tar Heels on Wednesday. They’re not having a typical North Carolina year, but it’s still North Carolina and Roy Williams. It’s still a program that comes to Blacksburg with an unbelievable amount of pride in that uniform and what that program has accomplished.

This will be a very hard stretch. We wipe the slate clean Thursday, and we leave for Boston on Friday. Then, we play them Saturday and come back to prepare for Miami on Sunday. Then, we’re off again for Miami on Tuesday. Yesterday, we had a day off and we’re going about ten straight days before we can catch our breath again.

That’s ACC play. You know how hard it is to go on the road and win. Our team went to the Carrier Dome, to Wake Forest, to Clemson and have won three out of four on the road. That is an accomplishment. For this team to be able to do that with everybody pulling against you and you’re out of your comfortable confines. We have to bring that same pop on the road. Those are gold, they can’t take those away from you.

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3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. The elephant in the room on WB on how poor a shooter he is. Of course you don’t embarrass him by asking him directly to address this but I would have like to hear him volunteer that he is doing things to improve in this area, especially at the FT line.

  2. Glad to see this:
    “I’m graduating this summer. That was a big step for me, being the first generation [of my family] to graduate from college. Another goal of mine is to graduate with above a 3.0.”

    Very Cool!

Comments are closed.